Research priorities for gender nonconforming/transgender youth: gender identity development and biopsychosocial outcomes

Olson-Kennedy, J.; Cohen-Kettenis, P. T.; Kreukels, B. P.; Meyer-Bahlburg, H. F.; Garofalo, R.; Meyer, W.; Rosenthal, S. M.

Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2016 Jan 31; 23(2):172-9

Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The review summarizes relevant research focused on prevalence and natural history of gender nonconforming/transgender youth, and outcomes of currently recommended clinical practice guidelines. This review identifies gaps in knowledge, and provides recommendations foci for future research. RECENT FINDINGS: Increasing numbers of gender nonconforming youth are presenting for care. Clinically useful information for predicting individual psychosexual development pathways is lacking. Transgender youth are at high risk for poor medical and psychosocial outcomes. Longitudinal data examining the impact of early social transition and medical interventions are sparse. Existing tools to understand gender identity and quantify gender dysphoria need to be reconfigured to study a more diverse cohort of transgender individuals. Increasingly, biomedical data are beginning to change the trajectory of scientific investigation. SUMMARY: Extensive research is needed to improve understanding of gender dysphoria, and transgender experience, particularly among youth. Recommendations include identification of predictors of persistence of gender dysphoria from childhood into adolescence, and a thorough investigation into the impact of interventions for transgender youth. Finally, examining the social environments of transgender youth is critical for the development of appropriate interventions necessary to improve the lives of transgender people.

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